Ezekiel, prophesy to the land

Ezekiel Prophesy Land

Wednesday 04/05/23 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message: Ezekiel, prophesy to the land

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Ezekiel, prophesy to the land

Last week God was entirely focused upon Egypt in his prophecies through Ezekiel. Then as we were closing out the last verses in chapter 33 we see the fugitive God had told Ezekiel would come to him once Jerusalem had been completely taken. At which point God had also told Ezekiel that He would loosen his tongue to prophecy once more to Israel.

Ezekiel 33:21-25,

“(21)  In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and reported, “The city has been taken!”  

(22)  Now the hand of the LORD had been on me the evening before the fugitive arrived, and He opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer mute.  

(23)  Then the word of the LORD came to me:  

(24)  “Son of man, those who live in the ruins in the land of Israel are saying: 

Abraham was only one person, yet he received possession of the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.  

(25)  Therefore say to them: 

This is what the Lord GOD says: 

You eat meat with blood in it, raise your eyes to your idols, and shed blood. Should you then receive possession of the land?”

Now this week we begin with God prophesying against the shepherds of Israel. God, in His sovereignty, designates certain people in roles of leadership. To them He gives discernment, a heightened awareness of what is right and He invests in them a portion of His authority to rule and reign. It is important to know that God does not just place people in positions and then give them no ability to fulfill their allotted tasks. They have more, they are filled with more, they know more and therefore more is expected of them. “To whom much is GIVEN, much is required” – Luke 12:48, but before anything is required OF THEM, much is given to and invested INTO them!

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes people of calling more stirred up, more aware, less in need of encouragement themselves in leading others towards devotion to God. Who keeps them stirred up?

Well, I’ve actually taught on this several times, but the New Testament uses a word for those who are given AS gifts to God’s people and it is very telling. The Greek word is energema and it is the result of the effect of God’s energy in a person. These people are like the “energizer batteries” in the back of the energizer bunny. They are those who come “pre-stirred” by the ever present and powerful influence of God. No one has to tell them the importance of spiritual matters – they just know. It is impressed upon them. No one has to draw their attention TO God – they simply ARE aware and in many cases they have been all their lives. However, like any work of God, it can be resisted and one can become numb to His influence through open resistance or simply through neglect.

Nevertheless, these ALL have an impress in their souls to do what they were gifted to do, and like Paul said, “(16) For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  (17)  For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility.”~ 1Cor. 9:16-17

I know in my own life, no one ever had to tell me to be interested in the things of God. To take Him seriously. To seek to know Him, to acknowledge Him, to be joyful in Him – it seemed to happen automatically and it seemed to come unbidden. I have had many times in my life when through sin or neglect I have deadened that voice and inward impression of the Spirit in my heart, but never to the point where I was unaware of God. This made my times of sin or neglect all the more miserable and required all the more deliberate action to live like that and THAT is what makes people who ARE gifts to the body more responsible and culpable for their wrong doing. They have to press all the harder past the impressions and influences of God to do what is wrong. In other words, what they do – they do with eyes WIDE OPEN – at least at first!

So when we read passages like these where God is addressing the leaders of Israel, who He depicts as shepherds of the sheep, He has reason to come down strongly on them and I think this is a side to the story many people do not understand. Sheep do not know what shepherds know inwardly. There is a responsibility to honor, give preference to and to pursue with diligence that grace within their hearts, which our great brother Paul just pointed out to us.

So, as we read these verses, we just know that the leaders of Israel – these “shepherds”, in this context, are ANY and ALL leaders… Kings, princes, nobles, prophets, priests, scribes & Levites and they are being judged for not being faithful to their God given appointment.

Ezekiel 34:1-31, 

“(1) The word of the LORD came to me:  

(2)  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them: 

This is what the Lord GOD says to the shepherds

Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed their flock?  (3)  You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fatlings, but you do not tend the flock.  (4)  You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty.  

(5)  They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered.  

(6)  My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. They were scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them.  

(7)  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD.  (8)  As I live”–the declaration of the Lord GOD–“because My flock has become prey and food for every wild animal since they lack a shepherd, for My shepherds do not search for My flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than My flock,  (9)  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD!  (10)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: Look, I am against the shepherds. I will demand My flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue My flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them.  (11)  “For this is what the Lord GOD says: See, I Myself will search for My flock and look for them.  (12)  As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for My flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy and dark day.  (13)  I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, and bring them into their own land. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land.  (14)  I will tend them with good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel’s lofty mountains. There they will lie down in a good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.  (15)  I will tend My flock and let them lie down.” 

This is the declaration of the Lord GOD.  

(16)  “I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.  

(17)  “The Lord GOD says to you, My flock: I am going to judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and male goats.  (18)  Isn’t it enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of the pasture with your feet? Or isn’t it enough that you drink the clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?  (19)  Yet My flock has to feed on what your feet have trampled, and drink what your feet have muddied.  (20)  “Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says to them: See, I Myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  (21)  Since you have pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak ones with your horns until you scattered them all over,  (22)  I will save My flock, and they will no longer be prey for you. I will judge between one sheep and another.  (23)  I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.  (24)  I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be a prince among them. I, the LORD, have spoken.  (25)  “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate dangerous animals in the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest.  (26)  I will make them and the area around My hill a blessing: I will send down showers in their season–showers of blessing.  (27)  The trees of the field will give their fruit, and the land will yield its produce; My flock will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslave them.  (28)  They will no longer be prey for the nations, and the wild animals of the land will not consume them. They will live securely, and no one will frighten them.  (29)  I will establish for them a place renowned for its agriculture, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land. They will no longer endure the insults of the nations.  (30)  Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD.  (31)  “You are My flock, the human flock of My pasture, and I am your God.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD.”

I find it important to add at this point that sheep are not “kept in the dark” in order to create positions for these “shepherds” nor to make them necessary. Sheep are simply people who lack this additional impulse to know and pursue the knowledge of God. 

ALL PEOPLE intrinsically possess an awareness of God. That He exists and therefore that it is logically important to discover more about their relation to Him as their Creator. To pursue answers to the questions of, “Why did He create me and what is expected of me?”

The verses we just read illustrate that God is perfectly capable of shepherding His flock unaided by these human shepherds, but such is not His first design nor desire.

Interestingly yet not surprisingly, there is an increasing body of evidence which suggests that our brains and perhaps even our genes themselves are programmed for God awareness.

In a 2008 article from Psychiatric Times entitled, Neurotheology: Are we hardwired for God? By Rene’ J. Miller, PhD it says,

“Neurotheologians argue that the structure and function of the human brain predispose us to believe in God. They claim that the site of God’s biological substrate is the limbic system deep within the brain, which has long been considered to be the biological center for emotion. Rhawn Joseph, a prominent neurotheologian, goes a step further to suggest that the limbic system is dotted with “God neurons” and “God neurotransmitters.”

Among the limbic structures that have been associated with religious belief, the most frequently credited are the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. Neurotheologians point to changes in functional MRI scans in these areas as research subjects engage in religious meditation. They reason that if thinking about God changes the way the brain works, there must be some inherent neural imperative to believe in God in the first place. In making this connection, neurotheologians are following the lead of neuroscientists who claim that changes seen in functional brain scans in persons who are happy, depressed, or obsessed demonstrate that these phenomena are brain driven.”

In another 2009 publication by Independent, in an article entitled “Belief and the brain’s ‘God spot’” said this,

“The search for the God spot has in the past led scientists to many different regions of the brain. An early contender was the brain’s temporal lobe, a large section of the brain that sits over each ear, because temporal-lobe epileptics suffering seizures in these regions frequently report having intense religious experiences. One of the principal exponents of this idea was Vila-yanur Rama-chandran, from the University of California, San Diego, who asked several of his patients with temporal-lobe epilepsy to listen to a mixture of religious, sexual and neutral words while measuring their levels of arousal and emotional reactions. Religious words elicited an unusually high response in these patients.

This work was followed by a study where scientists tried to stimulate the temporal lobes with a rotating magnetic field produced by a “God helmet”. Michael Persinger, from Laurentian University in Ontario, found that he could artificially create the experience of religious feelings – the helmet’s wearer reports being in the presence of a spirit or having a profound feeling of cosmic bliss.

Dr Persinger said that about eight in every 10 volunteers report quasi-religious feelings when wearing his helmet. However, when Professor Richard Dawkins, an evolutionist and renowned atheist, wore it during the making of a BBC documentary, he famously failed to find God, saying that the helmet only affected his breathing and his limbs.” 

In the Wikipedia entry on the “God helmet” it reports this about RichardDawkins, Persinger explained Dawkins’ limited results in terms of his low score on a psychological scale measuring temporal lobe sensitivity.”

I first wonder if Dawkins can even be trusted to be honest here since his entire career rides upon his upholding atheistic beliefs. Secondarily I wonder if in fact he did not experience what most others do because he has in fact trained his mind to reinterpret any thought about God in naturalistic ways. What Christians might call, “a calousing” of the heart against God.

Eph. 4:18-19, “(18) They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.  (19)  They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.”

The point here is that sheep are not without responsibility just because those called as their shepherds are not leading where they should. They as sheep also have an inner knowledge and awareness of God, which God created to work in tandem with those He gifted to stir that awareness. Sheep do not and never have had to rely upon ANY leader to pursue God. God will always respond to anyone who seeks Him. This shepherd/sheep relationship was created by God to facilitate, spur on and drive to greater heights what can occur naturally and without aid in every sheep’s heart alone. 

Now God turns His attention to Seir, the people known as Edomites who ultimately descended from Esau, whom God hated.

Ezekiel 35:1-15, 

“(1) The word of the LORD came to me:  (2)  “Son of man, turn your face toward Mount Seir and prophesy against it.  

(3)  Say to it: This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Look! I am against you, Mount Seir. I will stretch out My hand against you and make you a desolate waste.  (4)  I will turn your cities into ruins, and you will become a desolation. Then you will know that I am the LORD.  

(5)  “Because you maintained an ancient hatred and handed over the Israelites to the power of the sword in the time of their disaster, the time of final punishment,  (6)  therefore, as I live”–this is the declaration of the Lord GOD–“I will destine you for bloodshed, and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, it will pursue you.  

(7)  I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and will cut off from it those who come and go.  (8)  I will fill its mountains with the slain; those slain by the sword will fall on your hills, in your valleys, and in all your ravines.  (9)  I will make you a perpetual desolation; your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.  

(10)  “Because you said: These two nations and two lands will be mine, and we will possess them–though the LORD was there–  (11)  therefore, as I live”–the declaration of the Lord GOD–“I will treat you according to the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them. I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.  

(12)  Then you will know that I, the LORD, have heard all the blasphemies you uttered against the mountains of Israel, saying: 

They are desolate. They have been given to us to devour!  (13)  You boasted against Me with your mouth, and spoke many words against Me. I heard it Myself!  

(14)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: 

While the whole world rejoices, I will make you a desolation.  (15)  Just as you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it became a desolation, so I will deal with you: you will become a desolation, Mount Seir, and so will all Edom in its entirety. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

You need to know that these were not just distant and evil thoughts or words spoken against Israel and the God of Israel. The Edomites actually joined with the forces of Babylon in their invasion and capture of Israel. They took delight in exacting a long standing, long festering resentment against Israel, just like the Ishmaelites do today through the Arab Muslims.

Gill reports this about the Edomites in this conflict,

“when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldeans, the Edomites not only rejoiced at it, and took part of the spoil, but stood in the crossways, and slew those that made their escape; or drove them back upon the sword of the enemy; or delivered them into their hands; which was barbarous and inhuman usage of their neighbours and brethren”

Obadiah 1:6-11 says, 

“(6) How Esau will be pillaged, his hidden treasures searched out!  (7)  Everyone who has a treaty with you will drive you to the border; everyone at peace with you will deceive and conquer you. Those who eat your bread will set a trap for you. He will be unaware of it.  (8)  In that day–the LORD’s declaration–will I not eliminate the wise ones of Edom and those who understand from the hill country of Esau?  (9)  Teman, your warriors will be terrified so that everyone from the hill country of Esau will be destroyed by slaughter.  (10)  You will be covered with shame and destroyed forever because of violence done to your brother Jacob.  (11)  On the day you stood aloof, on the day strangers captured his wealth, while foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were just like one of them.”

Now in chapter 36 God calls upon Ezekiel as His mouthpiece to speak over the land of Israel in preparation of their return.

Ezekiel 36:1-38, 

“(1) Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say: 

Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.  (2)  This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Because the enemy has said about you, ‘Good! The ancient heights have become our possession,’  (3)  therefore, prophesy and say: This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Because they have made you desolate and have trampled you from every side, so that you became a possession for the rest of the nations and an object of people’s gossip and slander,  (4)  therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD. This is what the Lord GOD says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and abandoned cities, which have become plunder and a mockery to the rest of the nations all around.  (5)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Certainly in My burning zeal I speak against the rest of the nations and all of Edom, who took My land as their own possession with wholehearted rejoicing and utter contempt, so that its pastureland became plunder.  

(6)  Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israeland say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: 

This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Look, I speak in My burning zeal because you have endured the insults of the nations.  (7)  Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: 

I swear that the nations all around you will endure their own insults.  (8)  “You, mountains of Israel, will put forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel, since their arrival is near.  

(9)  Look! I am on your side; I will turn toward you, and you will be tilled and sown.  (10)  I will fill you with people, with the whole house of Israel in its entirety. The cities will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.  

(11)  I will fill you with people and animals, and they will increase and be fruitful. I will make you inhabited as you once were and make you better off than you were before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.  

(12)  I will cause people, My people Israel, to walk on you; they will possess you, and you will be their inheritance. You will no longer deprive them of their children.  

(13)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: 

Because people are saying to you: You devour men and deprive your nation of children,  (14)  therefore, you will no longer devour men and deprive your nation of children.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD.  

(15)  “I will no longer allow the insults of the nations to be heard against you, and you will not have to endure the reproach of the peoples any more; you will no longer cause your nation to stumble.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD.  

(16)  The word of the LORD came to me:  (17)  “Son of man, while the house of Israel lived in their land, they defiled it with their conduct and actions. Their behavior before Me was like menstrual impurity.  (18)  So I poured out My wrath on them because of the blood they had shed on the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols.”

Just so you know, God’s disgust with a woman’s menstrual period is NOT because of the same reasons people, or the women themselves might disdain it. Also, God is not angry with women during or because of their flow. It is 100% because the beautiful means by which God created the woman to gestate, nurture, protect and bring to maturity the seed of the man, has regular times during which it casts off the unfertilized eggs as dead things from her womb. Such was the result of the fall and that judgment, peculiar to her, which was due the woman for her treason against God and her supplanting the authority of her husband.

So God is using this rather grizzly example to impress upon Israel the malignity of their sin and the resultant devastation it had upon the land God gave them to nurture and be fruitful.

“(19)  I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered among the countries. I judged them according to their conduct and actions.  

(20)  When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said about them: 

These are the people of the LORD, yet they had to leave His land in exile.  

(21)  Then I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went.  

(22)  “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord GOD says: 

It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went.  

(23)  I will honorthe holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations–the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh“–the declaration of the Lord GOD–“when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.  

(24)  “For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.  

(25)  I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols.  

(26)  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  

(27)  I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.  

(28)  Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God.  

(29)  I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful, and will not bring famine on you.  

(30)  I will also make the fruit of the trees and the produce of the field plentiful, so that you will no longer experience reproach among the nations on account of famine.  

(31)  “Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and abominations.  

(32)  It is not for your sake that I will act”–the declaration of the Lord GOD–“let this be known to you

Be ashamed and humiliated because of your ways, house of Israel!  (33)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: 

On the day I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the ruins will be rebuilt.  

(34)  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of everyone who passes by.  

(35)  Then they will say: This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden. The cities that were once ruined, desolate, and destroyed are now fortified and inhabited.  

(36)  Then the nations that remain around you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken and I will do it.  

(37)  “This is what the Lord GOD says: I will respond to the house of Israel and do this for them: I will multiply them in number like a flock.  

(38)  So the ruined cities will be filled with a flock of people, just as the flock of sheep for sacrifice is filled in Jerusalem during its appointed festivals. 

Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

This chapter has MANY fulfillments. Of course there was the immediate and natural fulfillment when Israel returned to their land by the decree of Cyrus the Great.

Then it has the fulfillment in the New Covenant, which the New Testament attests to with words like “the New man” or “new creation”. This was first preached to the Jews who are represented in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast as those who were invited to the wedding, but largely rejected it. Then Gospel was preached to the Gentiles who were the second group mentioned in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast – those in the highways and byways. Finally, it represents the time of the Jews following the rapture of the church and the tribulation. This is when Jesus sets up His kingdom here on earth, ruling from Jerusalem and the people of Israel look upon the One Whom they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns over the loss of their own son – Zech. 12:10. They will dwell in the land in peace and all nations will look to them to learn God’s ways. 

Romans 11:1-2, 7-12, 25-32,

“(1) I ask, then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.  (2)  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew…etc.”

“(7) What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the elect did find it. The rest were hardened,  (8)  as it is written: God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, to this day.  (9)  And David says: Let their feasting become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a retribution to them. (10)  Let their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent continually. (11)  I ask, then, have they stumbled so as to fall? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.  (12)  Now if their stumbling brings riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring!

“(25) So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: a partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  (26)  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Liberator will come from Zion; He will turn away godlessness from Jacob. (27)  And this will be My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (28)  Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of their forefathers,  (29)  since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.  (30)  As you once disobeyed God, but now have received mercy through their disobedience,  (31)  so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so that they also now may receive mercy.  (32)  For God has imprisoned all in disobedience, so that He may have mercy on all.”

Hosea 3:3-5,

“(3) I said to her, “You must live with me many days. Don’t be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way toward you.”  (4)  For the Israelites must live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, and without ephod or household idols.  (5)  Afterwards, the people of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come with awe to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.”

Isaiah 2:1-5,

“(1) The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  (2)  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s house will be established at the top of the mountains and will be raised above the hills. All nations will stream to it,  (3)  and many peoples will come and say, 

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us about His ways so that we may walk in His paths.” 

For instruction will go out of Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  (4)  He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will turn their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will never again train for war.  

(5)  House of Jacob, come and let us walk in the LORD’s light.”

Adam Clark says, 

“It may not be amiss to subjoin here a collection of those texts in the Old Testament that seem to point out a restoration of the Jewish commonwealth to a higher degree of excellence than it has yet attained. Isa. 2:2-5; Isa. 19:24, Isa. 19:25; Isa. 25:6, etc.; Isa. 30:18, Isa. 30:19, Isa. 30:26; Isaiah 60:1-22; Isa. 65:17-25; Jer. 31:10-12; Jer. 46:27, Jer. 46:28; Eze. 20:34, Eze. 20:40, etc.; Eze. 28:25, Eze. 28:26; Eze. 34:20, etc.; Eze. 36:8-16; Eze. 37:21-28; Eze. 39:25, etc.; Joe. 3:1, Joe. 3:2, Joe. 3:17, Joe. 3:20, Joe. 3:21; Amo. 9:9-15; Oba. 1:17, Oba. 1:21; Mic. 4:3-7; Mic. 7:18-20; Zep. 3:19, Zep. 3:20.”


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!